Governmental Institution
Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty
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Board of Trade
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Colonial Office
Throughout its imperial history, the British empire had various departments administering the colonies. When the War and Colonial Office was divided into two in 1854, the Colonial Office was created with the specific mandate to oversee colonial affairs. The Office was headed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies and ran by a core staff of Under Secretaries, clerks, registrar, and librarian. While the Secretary of State was responsible for all the decisions on the Office's formal communications, the Senior Clerk coordinated the routine of processing despatches, who minuted the correspondences, suggested answers and/or courses of handling the subjects, and prepared drafts of replies. The Colonial Office staff minutes are interesting to read in many regards. They are more than the accustomed bureaucratic records. There are gossips, rants, and sarcastic comments on the corresponding governors. The minutes capture the high-ranking officers' personalities as much as their interest (disinterest) in colonial affairs. The Colonial Office was merged into the Commonwealth Office in 1966, which was consequently amalgamated with the Foreign Office to form the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1968.1
  • 1. Nancy Brown Foulds, Colonial Office, The Canadian Encyclopedia ; The Colonial Despatches, Colonial Office staff and consultants, The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, ed., James Hendrickson, (Victoria BC: University of Victoria).
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Colonial Treasury
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Emigration Office
The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission was established in 1840. A board of commissioners was appointed to manage the sales of Crown lands in British colonies and regulate emigration from the UK to the colonies. The commissioners had the power to use the proceeds from land sales to defray the expense of emigration. They corresponded with colonial governors indirectly through the Colonial Secretary (head of the Colonial Office). They also supervised the emigration officers stationed in British colonies. The first board rented a private house for their office space on Park Street, Westminster, London.1
It became Emigration Commission in 1856 after the imperial government had granted the rights of administering Crown lands to the colonial governments.2 In 1878, the Commission was replaced with Emigration Department set up in the Colonial Office.3
  • 1. Fred H. Hitchins, The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1931), 42-45, 59, 159.
  • 2. Ibid., 310.
  • 3. Ibid., 94.
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Foreign Office
The Foreign Office was formed in 1782 to oversee Britain's foreign affairs, which had previously been co-administered by the Southern and Northern Departments of the Secretary of State. In addition to foreign affairs, the Foreign Office was also responsible for British protectorates like Cephalonia.1
As the territory of the British empire shifted, the responsibility boundaries between the Foreign and Colonial Offices were not always clear. As regards HBC Governor J. H. Pelly's inquiry about the Oregon Territory treaty,2 Benjamin Hawes suggested to Lord Grey that the issue should be forwarded to the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office was merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1968.
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House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Parliament oversaw the implementation of legislations in colonies. Legislative issues relating to colonies were always debated in Parliament; few laws could be enacted without Parliament's endorsement. Clerks of the House of Commons communicated Parliament's inquiries, requests and decisions to the Colonial Office.1 In this despatch, J. H. Ley requested the Colonial Office to provide the House of Commons with a Copy of Correspondence between the Chairman of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, relative to the Colonization of Vancouver's Island.2
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Law Officers
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Municipal Council of New Westminster
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Offices of the Crown Agents for the Colonies
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Treasury
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War Office
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Religious Affiliation
British Colonial Missionary Society
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Society of the Sisters of St. Ann
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St. Andrews Society
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Business
Alex Arthur and Company
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Bank of Australia
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Bank of British Columbia
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Bank of British North America
British investors founded the Bank of British North America in 1836; it was incorporated by royal charter in 1840. The Victoria branch was located on Yates Street; the manager was Fred. Whatley Wood, the accountant was Alexander Watson, the teller was E.M. Jackson, and the messenger was A. Wilson. (See Colonist, 23 May 1859, and Edward Mallandaine, First Victoria Directory [Victoria: Edw. Mallandaine and Co., 1860].) The bank became the official bank for the city of Victoria and the colonial government of Vancouver Island. On 12 April 1918, the Bank of British North America was absorbed by the Bank of Montreal (Victoria Times, 12 April 1918). See Jackson, Banking, Mail, and Express Service in British North America.
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Bank of Egypt
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Bank of Montreal
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    Brand and Company
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    British Columbia Co. Limited
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    British Columbia Overland Transit Company
    The British Columbia Overland Transit Company was organized in London in 1862 by Arthur Sleigh, a man described by the Toronto Globe as a swindler and complete scoundrel.1 Because of his reputation, Sleigh was studiously kept in the background, while James Henson, the company's secretary, acted as its public representative.2 The company offered transportation from England to British Columbia, which was in the throes of the Cariboo Gold Rush. Passengers were to arrive in Canada by ship, continue to St. Paul, Minnesota by rail, then cross the Prairies and the Rocky Mountains in wagons via the Red River Settlement.3 The first group of thirty-three travellers arrived at St. Paul in June 1862 to find that no arrangements had been made for the completion of their journey.4 The company's agents, H. L. Hime and James Hayward, had both been told by Sleigh that the other had been given the money necessary to cover the expedition's expenses.5 Eight travellers were able to return to England but twenty-five who could not afford the trip became stranded in St. Paul.6 The Manchester Weekly Times reported that some, it is said, are toiling away in the mines there for their daily bread, and, unless friends release them from their slavery, it may last a life time.7 The Colonial Office was asked to help the stranded but declined, saying that it was quite impossible for the government to assist those who had embarked in impracticable enterprises, and had allowed themselves to be imposed upon by designing persons from the consequence of their imprudence.8 Sleigh closed the firm's office, sold his house and furniture, and disappeared into space.9 Henson was charged with fraud, but successfully argued that he had no knowledge of Sleigh's criminal intent.10 Henry Fenton Jadis, who held a senior position with the government's Board of Trade and was brother of Colonial Office clerk Vane Jadis, was not so fortunate.11 He had become entangled in the scheme by agreeing to act as one of the company's directors. He and several other directors, including British member of Parliament F. H. Berkeley, were found liable in civil court and ordered to pay damages to Sleigh's victims.12 Some, including Jadis, were forced into bankruptcy as a result.13 The London Morning Post offered the following summary of the whole sorry affair: the object of the company itself was not the legitimate one of expediting inexperienced travellers to their destination by taking upon itself the responsibility of the intermediate arrangements, but the replenishment of the empty pockets of Colonel Sleigh and of one or two of his chosen confrères who were in on the secret.14
    • 1. The Overland Transit Company, Globe (Toronto), 16 September 1862, 2; Morning Post (London), 17 February 1863, 4.
    • 2. British Columbia Overland Transit viâ Canada, Daily News (London), 8 April 1862, 1; British Columbia Overland Transit viâ Canada, Standard (London), 8 April 1862, 1; D. G. F. Macdonald, British Columbia and Vancouver's Island […] (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1862), 405-409. http://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0114669
    • 3. James Parsons, ed., Reports of Cases [English Courts of Common Law, vol. 109], 145. http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t0qs4h68h
    • 4. Birmingham Daily Post, 20 February 1863, 2.
    • 5. British Columbia Overland Transportation Company, Globe (Toronto), 9 July 1862, 1; Collapse of the Overland Transit Company, Globe (Toronto), 9 July 1862, 2.
    • 6. Finnis to Pelham-Clinton, 22 August 1862, CO 60:14, no. 8373, 380. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B626F02.html
    • 7. The Overland Transit Swindle, Manchester Weekly Times, 30 August 1862, 4.
    • 8. Collingwood to Rogers, 18 August 1862, CO 60:14, no. 8205, 348. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B626C01.html; Finnis to Pelham-Clinton, August 1862, CO 60:14, no. 8373, 380. http://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/B626F02.html
    • 9. The British Columbia Overland Transit Company, Morning Post (London), 22 August 1862, 6; Morning Post (London), 17 February 1863, 4.
    • 10. Manchester Guardian, 18 February 1863, 2.
    • 11. The Royal Kalendar [1862] (R. & A. Suttaby, 1862), 164. http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t19m3rj3x
    • 12. Parsons, Reports of Cases, 156; Birmingham Daily Post, 20 February 1863, 2.
    • 13. Court of Bankruptcy, Observer (London), 28 February 1864, 3; Court of Bankruptcy, Daily News (London), 13 May 1865, 6.
    • 14. Morning Post (London), 17 February 1863, 4.
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    British Columbia Mining Company
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    Bridges, Sawlett, Haywood and Company
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    Brook, Thornton and Brook
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    A. Campbell and Company
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    Cavan and Company
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    Central Press
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    Clarke, Son and Rawlins
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    Cotteris and Sons
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    Cox & Co.
    Operating from London, England, Cox & Co. was a British army agent and private bank during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.1
    • 1. K. R. Jones, 1368. Army Agents: Richard Cox and His Followers, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research vol. 40, no. 162 (June 1962): 104. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44222460; John Orbell and Alison Turton, British Banking: A Guide to Historical Records (London: Routledge, [2001] 2007), 173-174. http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315261317; K. R. Jones, Cox and Co.: Army Agents Craig's Court: The Nineteenth Century, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research vol. 40, no. 164 (December 1962): 178-186. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44222460
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    Edelman and Company
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    Edmiston and Son